23 CFR § 655.603 - Standards.
(a) National MUTCD. The MUTCD approved by the Federal Highway Administrator is the national standard for all traffic control devices installed on any street, highway, or bicycle trail open to public travel in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a). For the purpose of MUTCD applicability, open to public travel includes toll roads and roads within shopping centers, airports, sports arenas, and other similar business and/or recreation facilities that are privately owned but where the public is allowed to travel without access restrictions. Except for gated toll roads, roads within private gated properties where access is restricted at all times are not included in this definition. Parking areas, driving aisles within parking areas, and private highway-rail grade crossings are also not included in this definition.
(b) State or other Federal MUTCD.
(1) Where State or other Federal agency MUTCDs or supplements are required, they shall be in substantial conformance with the National MUTCD. Substantial conformance means that the State MUTCD or supplement shall conform as a minimum to the standard statements included in the National MUTCD. The FHWA Division Administrators and Associate Administrator for the Federal Lands Highway Program may grant exceptions in cases where a State MUTCD or supplement cannot conform to standard statements in the National MUTCD because of the requirements of a specific State law that was in effect prior to the effective date of this final rule, provided that the Division Administrator or Associate Administrator determines based on information available and documentation received from the State that the non-conformance does not create a safety concern. The guidance statements contained in the National MUTCD shall also be in the State Manual or supplement unless the reason for not including it is satisfactorily explained based on engineering judgment, specific conflicting State law, or a documented engineering study. The FHWA Division Administrators shall approve the State MUTCDs and supplements that are in substantial conformance with the National MUTCD. The FHWA AssociateAdministrator of the Federal Lands Highway Program shall approve other Federal land management agencies MUTCDs and supplements that are in substantial conformance with the National MUTCD. The FHWA Division Administrators and the FHWA Associate Administrators for the Federal Lands Highway Program have the flexibility to determine on a case-by-case basis the degree of variation allowed.
(2) States and other Federal agencies are encouraged to adopt the National MUTCD in its entirety as their official Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
(3) States and other Federal agencies shall adopt changes issued by the FHWA to the National MUTCD within two years from the effective date of the final rule. For those States that automatically adopt the MUTCD immediately upon the effective date of the latest edition or revision of the MUTCD, the FHWA Division Administrators have the flexibility to allow these States to install certain devices from existing inventory or previously approved construction plans that comply with the previous MUTCD during the two-year adoption period.
(c) Color specifications. Color determinations and specifications of sign and pavement marking materials shall conform to requirements of the FHWA Color Tolerance Charts. 1 An alternate method of determining the color of retroreflective sign material is provided in the appendix.
1 Available for inspection from the Office of Traffic Operations, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC.
(d) Compliance -
(1) Existing highways. Each State, in cooperation with its political subdivisions, and Federal agency shall have a program as required by 23 U.S.C. 402(a), which shall include provisions for the systematic upgrading of substandard traffic control devices and for the installation of needed devices to achieve conformity with the MUTCD. The FHWA may establish target dates of achieving compliance with changes to specific devices in the MUTCD.
(2) New or reconstructed highways. Federal-aid projects for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, or rehabilitation of streets and highways shall not be opened to the public for unrestricted use until all appropriate traffic control devices, either temporary or permanent, are installed and functioning properly. Both temporary and permanent devices shall conform to the MUTCD.
(3) Construction area activities. All traffic control devices installed in construction areas using Federal-aid funds shall conform to the MUTCD. Traffic control plans for handling traffic and pedestrians in construction zones and for protection of workers shall conform to the requirements of 23 CFR part 630, subpart J, Traffic Safety in Highway and Street Work Zones.